Political junkies have been musing about a brokered convention for a while now. It’s a fun idea to consider and drive headlines, rife as it is with chaos and historic import. But with the Michigan primary around the corner and Mitt Romney struggling to win his former home state, mainstream political observers are starting to openly discuss an open convention.
Now an unnamed Senator is hinting that he will publicly call for Jeb Bush to enter the race. Sarah Palin seems to be pushing for an open convention, her only means of having an impact on this election. Rumblings have also begun for Chris Christie, Paul Ryan and Mitch Daniels. But what the media is ignoring so far is that none of these candidates are any more appealing than the current crop.
One of the functions of a primary campaign is the media vetting of a potential nominee. For example, in September 2011, who knew that Mitt Romney was paying 14% taxes, sheltering his money overseas and characterizing $400,000 in income as “not very much.” Romney’s many weaknesses have only come to light because of this process and as flawed as he may be his weaknesses are known quantities.
And what does the GOP faithful want? Jeb Bush? While the former Florida governor is considered “the smart one” of his family, it is hard to imagine the American electorate flocking to the banner of the brother of a disgraced former President a mere 4 years after the fact. The younger Bush would also face scrutiny for his role as an advisor to Lehman Brothers where he used his influence as a former governor to con the state into investments that cost taxpayers billions. Plus, Jeb Bush is the very definition of the GOP establishment and, as David Frum points out, the problem facing the GOP is not that Mitt Romney is a poor establishment candidate, it’s that the GOP do not like the establishment.
Meanwhile, Chris Christie is beloved by many conservatives for his in-your-face Jersey demeanor, and willingness to tell women in the audience to give him blowjobs or call State Legislators “numb nuts.” But I’ve seen this movie before, and like Rudy Giuliani, Christie’s schtick won’t play nationally and his popularity will sink like a stone with more exposure.
Paul Ryan is only 42 years old and is famous only for drafting a budget that raised taxes on most Americans and crippled Medicare. The plan was so ill-conceived that even Ryan has backed off the plan. The man is openly booed at his own district town halls.
Finally, Mitch Daniels is a GOP powerhouse because…why? The media keeps telling me that Mitch Daniels is a leading GOP figure, but I have not seen any reason to believe this claim. Prior to his election in Indiana, Daniels was the director of the Office of Management and Budget for George W. Bush, hardly a positive credential for a party complaining about the budget deficit. And his cold fish TV presence makes Mitt Romney look like Bill Clinton.
If Mitt Romney fails to win the Michigan primary, the calls for a new GOP candidate will intensify, but the GOP should remember that the grass is not always greener.